Hon. Arlene Dunn’s speech on Canadian Multiculturalism Day for PRUDE Inc.

Hello / Bonjour,

I am so disappointed that I can’t be with you today in the Kent Theatre to celebrate Saint John’s growing diversity.

As the MLA for Saint John Harbour and minister responsible for Immigration in New Brunswick, I see the benefits of multiculturalism everyday and, I have to say that I love what I’ve been seeing in our city over the last week. A bit of trivia you may not be aware of – the main reason why the city of Saint John won the bid for the Memorial Cup against Quebec was because the committee’s proposal focused on diversity and inclusion. It set us apart and that’s why we won! That speaks volumes!

So many organizations and groups have been taking the opportunity to promote multiculturalism, diversity and inclusion as part of having the Memorial Cup junior hockey tournament here.

People are getting a chance to see that, yes, hockey is for everyone, but also that Saint John is a welcoming community and wants newcomers to feel at home here. We value your talents, your skills, your cultures, and support your dreams for a better life in our province.

And this event – what you’re doing right here– is such a valuable experience to share with residents and visitors.

It’s an opportunity for all of us to come together, learn more about each other and, appreciate the unique gifts each of us brings to our city.

Events like this raise a great deal of awareness about the positive influence multiculturalism has on society.

If we embrace it and all it offers, multiculturalism can help to build a prosperous and welcoming New Brunswick. It also makes us better people!

Right now, record numbers of newcomers are arriving in our province. We’re experiencing population growth at rates not seen in decades.

We’re thrilled to see this happen and to also hear that Saint John is focusing on a strategy to become a destination of choice for newcomers.

I want to applaud Mayor Donna Reardon and city councillors for taking a bold approach and I wish them nothing but success in achieving that goal. You know where to find me if there’s anything our government can do to assist in your plan. My door is always open.

Thank you so much to PRUDE for including me today in your festivities to mark Canadian Multiculturalism Day. The work you do is unparalleled, and you were doing this work long before many others! Thank you for being trailblazers and for your leadership!

I wish you a day filled with good food, uplifting conversations with friends and neighbours and, hope you’ll take this opportunity to learn more about each other.

Thank you / Merci

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